MARINE CORPS U LIBRARY
A BRIEF HISTORY OF
THE 9TH MARINES
ORICAL BRANCH, G-3 DIVISION
QUARTERS, U.S. MARINE CORPS
WASHINGTON, D. C.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 9TH MARINES
Truman R. Strobridge
First Printing 1961
Second Printing 1963
ALFRED M. GRAY MARINE CORPS
ATTN COLLECTION MANAGEMENT
2040 BROADWAY ST
Historical Branch, G-3 Division
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
Washington, D. C. 20380
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
WASHINGTON, D. C. 20380
"A Brief History of the 9th Marines" is revised at this
time in order to provide a concise narrative of the activity
of the regiment since its activation in 1917 to its present
participation in Vietnam as part of the III Marine Amphibious
Force. This history is based on the official records of the
United States Marine Corps and appropriate secondary sources.
It is published for the information of those interested
in the regiment and the role it played and continues to play
in adding to Marine Corps traditions and battle honors.
R. L. MURRAY fl
Major General, U. S. Mairlne Corps
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3
REVIEWED AND APPROVED: 17 May 1967
Special Historical List 2.
Special Historical List 3.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 9th MARINES
Truman R. Strobridge
World War I
The 9th Marines had its origin in the great expansion of
the Marine Corps during World War I. Created as one of the two
infantry regiments of the Advanced Base Force, it was assigned
to duty in the Carribean area as a mobile force in readiness.
The 9th' s mission was the protection of advanced naval bases
and the Panama Canal in the event of enemy action. (1) On 10
November 1917, the 14 2d anniversary of the Marine Corps, the
Commandant signed the order directing the formation of the
Ten days later, at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia,
the 9th Regiment was organized. (3) Its Headquarters Company
was activated and one machine gun and eight rifle companies
were assigned to its three battalions. Three of the units,
the 14th (machine gun) , 36th, and 100th Companies, were trans-
ferred to the east coast from the naval base at San Diego; the
remaining six, the 121st through 126th Companies, were formed
from Marines in training at Parr is Island, South Carolina. (4)
Cuba had entered the war on the Allied side soon after
the entry of the United States, but insurgent bands left over
from a recent rebellion still roamed the countryside, threaten-
ing the sugar crop vitally needed by the Allies for the war
effort. (5) As a result, groups of Marines had been stationed
in the sugar-growing districts to keep order. (6) The first
mission of the newly formed 9th was to reinforce these Marines.
Sailing aboard the USS Von Steuben on 20 December from
Newport News, Virginia, the regiment landed on the 24th at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (7) The new unit took the field with a
total strength of approximately 1,000 officers and men. After
its arrival on the island, the 9th was joined with the 7th
Regiment, already stationed there, into the 3d Provisional
Brigade. (8) The Marines of the 9th established their camp at
Deer Point, Guantanamo Bay and stood by in an alert status for
whatever action was required of them. The call never came,
however, and for seven months the men were occupied with routine
drill and target practice in the immediate vicinity of the
After the situation in Cuba improved/ the 9th was with-
drawn from the island and sent to Texas to forestall the
possible disruption by German agents of vital shipments from
the Mexican oil fields. (9) Embarking aboard the USS Hancock
on 31 July 1918, the Brigade Headquarters and the 9th sailed
from Guantanamo Bay for Galveston, Texas. Just before the
departure, the 7th Regiment and Companies 34 and 100 of the
9th were detached from the 3d Provisional Brigade and left
behind for duty in Cuba.
Upon arrival at Galveston on 6 August, the 9th disembarked
and went into camp at Fort Crockett. The same day, the 8th
Regiment, already stationed in Texas, was made part of the 3d
Provisional Brigade, replacing the 7th which had remained in
Cuba. (10) On 13 August, the strength of the 9th was increased,
when three companies, the 154th, 155th, and 156th, were added
Through the remainder of World War I, the Marines were to
remain at Fort Crockett, spending their time in training and
guard duty. As part of the mobile force of the Advanced Base
Force, they had to be maintained at a high state of efficiency,
available at all times for any use the Navy might have for
them. (11) Although the anticipated trouble in Mexico did not
occur, the presence near the Mexican Border of the 9th and
other American forces probably helped keep the situation
With the end of hostilities, the need for the 9th evapor-
ated, so the regiment embarked 10 April 1919 aboard the USS
Hancock for Philadelphia, where it arrived and unloaded 25 Apri
The same day, it was officially disbanded. Although the 9th
did not win combat honors during World War I, it did perform
the exacting task of keeping itself at peak effectiveness as
a mobile force in readiness.
For a period between the World Wars, the name of the 9th
appeared again on the muster rolls of the Marine Corps. Organ-
ized 1 December 1925 as a Reserve Regiment, Central Reserve
Area, the 9th' s Headquarters was at Chicago. (12) Here, also,
were located its aviation squadron and service company. The
1st Battalion was stationed at Chicago, with Company C at St.
Paul", Minnesota, and Company D at Omaha, Nebraska. The 2d
Battalion was stationed at Kansas City, Missouri, with Com-
panies G and H at St. Louis, Missouri. The 3d Battalion was
stationed at Cincinnati, Ohio, with Company K at Indianapolis,
Indiana, and Companies L and M at Detroit, Michigan.
The mission of the regiment was to train and maintain at
a high degree of preparedness a group of "civilian" Marines
that could be quickly transformed into "regular" Marines if
the need arose. On 1 September 1937, the name of the 9th
disappeared again from the Marine Corps' muster rolls, when all
of its men were transferred to the 9th Reserve District, Great
World War II
Enough of the great surge of Marine recruits following
Pearl Harbor had been processed by 12 February 1942 to make
the establishment of another regiment possible, and the 9th
Marines was organized at Camp Elliott, San Diego, as part of
the 2d Marine Division. (13) By this reactivation, the regiment
acquired its present and permanent designation, the 9th Marines.
The nucleus of the newly activated regiment, Headquarters
and Service Company and the 3d Battalion, was formed by officers
and men of the 2d Marines. (14) On 1 March, the 1st Battalion
was activated, the largest percentage of its men coming from
the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, recently returned from duty in
Iceland. (15) Regimental Weapons Company and the 2d Battalion
were organized on 1 April, completing the regiment and in-
creasing its strength to 99 officers and 3,003 enlisted men.
Immediately, a training program was inaugurated to weld
the 9th Marines into a hard-striking, fighting team. During
the months of May and June, amphibious training was conducted
in the San Diego-La Jolla area. (16) A depletion of strength
was suffered on 15 June, when the regiment was called on to
furnish the cadre for the formation of the 22d Marines. (17)
Again in July the unit was further reduced when it supplied
personnel for the newly formed 23d Marines. (18) Beginning 1
August, a gradual replacement of personnel soon brought the 9th
back up to full strength. Two days later, it was detached from
the 2d Marine Division and assigned to Amphibious Corps, Pacific
The first four days of September were spent marching from
Camp Elliott up the coast to the new Marine Corps Base at Camp
Pendleton, Oceanside. On 8 September, the 9th was transferred
to the newly activated 3d Marine Division, an association which
was to last until the end of the war. Again the regiment en-
gaged in intensive combat training, including two weeks of
amphibious exercises in the San Diego-Oceanside area. (19)
Just a few weeks before shipping overseas, Colonel Lemuel
C. Shepherd, Jr., Commanding Officer of the 9th and later the
20th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1952-1955) suggested the
design for the unique "Striking Ninth" insignia. Although not
authorized for a shoulder patch, it was generally accepted and
remained the regimental insignia during World War II. (20)
"The emblem consists of a bald eagle with outstretched wings
carrying three chain links in each claw, the motto 'Striking'
on a ribbon running through a large figure nine and another
ribbon lettered 'Ninth Marines' below the shield. The chain
links typify the interlocked, interdependent battalions form-
ing the backbone of the Regiment. The eagle itself and the
flashing lightning represent the striking power of the regi-
ment. " (21)
Sailing aboard the USS Mt. Vernon for New Zealand on 24
January 1943, the 9th Marines (Reinforced) arrived in Auckland
on 5 February and disembarked two days later. Because of the
lack of accommodations, separate camp sites were assigned for
each of the major regimental units; a distance of 20 miles
separated Headquarters, which was located at the Pukekohe race
course, from the most distant battalion. (22) Jungle warfare
training, several 60-mile hikes, and practice in the seizure
of a beachhead, occupied the Marines until they loaded aboard
five transports on 29 June bound for Guadalcanal, Solomons
Arriving 6 July, the 9th Marines landed at Tetere Village
and established camp about three miles from the village. In
addition to garrison duty and a five-week period as the island
working party, the regiment continued intensive training with
emphasis on further jungle conditioning and patrol work to
ready its men for the fighting to come. (24) Approximately a
year and a half after its reactivation, the 9th Marines was
to engage in its first battle.
Assigned to I Marine Amphibious Corps, the 9th was part
of the force assigned to hit the beaches at Empress Augusta
Bay, Bougainville, on 1 November 1943. En route to its desti-
nation, the regiment spent a week at Efate in the New Hebrides,
where it engaged in a final rehearsal, landing on a beach that
was believed to resemble the one at Bougainville. (25)
The largest island in the Solomons, approximately 130
miles long by 30 miles wide, Bougainville was garrisoned by
an estimated 35,000 Japanese soldiers. Possessing a rugged
central mountain spine, swamps, and a thick almost impenetrable,
jungle, the island's few existing trails offered about the only
means of land travel. The torrential rains and the abundance
of jungle life, especially the multitude of insects, added to
the other difficulties of jungle travel.
Like the earlier Guadalcanal operation, the Bougainville
campaign was a limited-objective assault designed to capture
and defend a strategic airfield site — a vital link in the cam-
paign to neutralize Rabaul, the Japanese stronghold on New
Britain that was blocking the Allied advance up the Solomon
chain. The Cape Torokina region was selected for the landing
because it was lightly defended by the Japanese, possessed a
suitable site for an air base, and was part of a natural de-
fensive region approximately eight miles by six miles in
At 07 30 on D-Day, the landing craft carrying the 9th
Marines' assault waves crossed the line of departure and headed
for the chosen beaches of Empress Augusta Bay. Landing with
three battalions abreast on the extreme left of the division
beachhead, the regiment encountered little enemy opposition.
It rapidly crossed the beaches, established defensive positions,
and sent a strong patrol to the Laruma River mouth to protect
the division's left flank.
The first unit to see action was the 4th Platoon of the
Regimental Weapons Company as it supported the 3d Raider Bat-
talion, attached to the 9th, in securing Puruata Island. Stiff
opposition from well-concealed Japanese riflemen and machine-
gunners was encountered, but by noon of the next day, resist-
ance on the island had ceased. Meanwhile, a high surf and a
steeply sloping beach were hindering the landing schedule on
the Bougainville beaches assigned to the 9th by causing 86
boats to either broach or dump their cargoes into the sea.
When it did not appear that the Japanese would offer op-
position on the left (west) flank, the 1st and 2d Battalions
of the 9th Marines were moved on 2-3 November to the east
sector. This consolidation of the beachhead left the 3d Bat-
talion, 9th Marines (3/9) on the extreme left flank. Before
3/9 could rejoin its regiment, the Japanese made their only
attempt to reinforce their troops and the Battle of Koromokina
Lagoon was on.
Early on the morning of 7 November, four Japanese destroy-
ers made a surprise counter-landing on the beaches west of the
beachhead, unloading about 475 men rushed down from Rabaul.
Two of the landing boats, containing about 50 men, actually
landed only 400 yards from 3/9 1 s positions in the rear of its
combat outpost. The Japanese tried fruitlessly to penetrate
the Marine defenses and then retired into a swamp area nearby
The 3d Battalion immediately counterattacked and, in a
heavy fire fight lasting about five hours, destroyed a major
portion of the original landing force. It could make little
headway, however, since the Japanese continued to land rein-
forcements further down the beach and had the advantage of the
foxholes abandoned by the Marines of the 9th when they evacuated
these beaches. At 1315 the 3d Marines had to relieve 3/9 be-
cause of the latter 1 s losses in attacking an emplaced enemy in
dense jungle. (26)
Simultaneously with the countermanding on the left, the
Japanese had also launched an attack against the right flank
of the perimeter, defended by the 9th with the 2d Marine
Raider Battalion attached. At the Piva Trail road block, the
2d Raiders, with the mortars of the 9th furnishing fire support,
forced the Japanese to break off contact.
At 0945 on 10 November, the 9th Marines (less the 3d
Battalion) again attacked after an air strike and mortar
barrage on the enemy positions astride the Piva Trail. Ad-
vancing against light resistance, the Marines moved up and
dug in across the Numa Numa Trail.
Continuing forward in the divisional attack towards the
Final Beachhead Line, the 9th advanced with its patrols ready
for instant action, for the closeness of the terrain and prox-
imity of the enemy precluded any carelessness. By 23 November,
it had moved up as far as the impassable swamps to its front
would allow. (27) The same day, the 3d and 9th were ordered to
exchange sub-sectors, thus allowing the latter to take over
the active sector while the 3d, which had engaged in heavy
fighting, could take over the relatively quiet sector.
Before the exchange could be made and in order to continue
the advance, 1/9 passed through the 3d Marines on 25 November
and launched an attack upon a ridge, later known as "Grenade
Hill" from the hail of grenades tossed down on the Marines by
the Japanese. The dense jungle prohibited mortar support, and
the necessity of close-in fighting hindered the advance until
the enemy decided to evacuate the ridge during the night.
After occupying "Grenade Hill, " 1/9 reorganized and continued
the attack until the final objective, the hill mass dominating
the East-West Trail, was taken. This action ended the Battle
of Piva Forks. The engagement had broken the back of organized
enemy resistance and cleared the way for a substantial expan-
sion of the beachhead perimeter.
The 9th Marines, after completing the exchange of sectors
with the 3d on the night of 26-27 November, advanced on the
more active front, reaching the new forward line on the 28th
and sending out strong patrols. Later, advancing with other
units of the 3d Marine Division, the regiment moved up to
occupy the new battle lines, relieving the 1st Parachute Regi-
ment on Hill 1000 on 10 December.
With the establishment of the Final Beachhead Line, the
remaining action was confined to patrol activity. The 9th
Marines was relieved on the front lines two days after Christmas,
after spending 57 days helping to clear the Japanese from the
Empress Augusta Bay area. Tested in the crucible of jungle
combat, the Marines of the 9th had not been found wanting.
Returning to Guadalcanal on 30 December, the regiment
reoccupied its former camp and began arduous training for a
proposed assault landing on Kavieng, New Ireland, another step
in the offensive against Rabaul. (28) After months of prepara-
tion, which included practice in street fighting, the 9th was
just ready to embark aboard ship when the Kavieng campaign was
cancelled. Once again the regiment began readying itself for
an assault landing, this time on Guam. The culminating point
of the training was a full-scale division landing exercise at
Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal. (29) With the final rehearsal be-
hind them, the Marines of the 9th, now combat-tested veterans,
stood ready to lead the assault on the beaches of Guam.
The largest and southernmost of the Marianas group, Guam
is a peanut-shaped island of volcanic origin, approximately 30
miles long, with a width varying from four to eight miles. A
central lowland in the middle divides the island almost equally
between the high plateau area to the north and the broken moun-
tainous area to the south. The rugged terrain is blanketed by
vegetation ranging from low, dense jungle to sword grass. Al-
most the entire island is ringed by ragged coral reefs. A
portion of the western shore was the most militarily valuable
sector of the island.
Several beaches suitable for full scale landings were
located on the western shore, but the Japanese defenders had
painstakingly fortified these with underwater mines and obstacles.
Hoping to prevent prohibitive casualties, III Amphibious Corps
in charge of the operation counted on surprising the Japanese
by crossing wide reefs to land on beaches which were ringed by
steep cliffs. To add to the enemy's confusion, two simultaneous
landings were to be made on beaches five miles apart. The 3d
Marine Division would land on the beaches between Adelup Point
and Asan Point, while the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was
to land at Agat to the south of Orote Peninsula.
Assigned Blue Beach on the extreme right flank of the 3d
Marine Division, the 9th had several missions. Its first ob-
jective was to seize the ridges just inland from the beach and
then, to expand the beachhead to the perimeter designated by
III Corps. On order, the regiment was to drive west around the
shore of Apra Harbor to link up with the 1st Brigade. (30)
At 0740 on 21 July 1944, the amphibian tractors carrying
the first assault waves of the 9th Marines started toward the
shore of Guam, which had just undergone the heaviest preparatory
bombardment yet delivered by the Navy in the Pacific. (31) After
crossing the reefs and landing the Marines on the beach, the
amphibian tractors hastened back to the reef 1 s edge to rendez-
vous with landing boats bringing up following waves.
Landing on Blue Beach, the 9th Marines moved ashore in a
column of battalion landing teams; 3d in assault, followed by
the 2d, with the 1st in reserve. Although the right assault
company of 3/9 bogged down until tanks could be brought up to
supply supporting fire, the left assault company swept forward
to seize the ridge to its front with astonishing speed, thus
gaining its first objective and throwing the Japanese into con-
fusion. The 1st and 2d Battalions passed through 3/9 to con-
tinue the attack, but increased resistance from enemy-occupied
caves stopped the advance about 400 yards short of its second
objective and the Marines dug in for the night.
Again the next day, the only real progress made by the
3d Marine Division was made by the 9th as it established a
fairly deep salient in the enemy defenses and pushed rapidly
south along the shore to seize the Piti Navy Yard. During the
same day, it engaged in a successful shore- to- shore assault
against Cabras Island. For the next two days, the action of
the 9th was confined to intensive patrolling.
During a division attack on 25 July, the 9th' s 2d Bat-
talion, attached to the 3d Marines, spearheaded that regiment's
assault upon the Fonte Plateau., the site of an elaborate
Japanese Division command post. Within an hour, 2/9 had secured
its first objective, Mt. Tenjo Road, which gave the Marines a
much-needed route over which to bring up tanks.
On the night of 25-26 July, the 2d Battalion, in its
exposed position, received the brunt of the Japanese Fonte
Plateau counterattack. Beating off seven determined thrusts,
the Marines held their ground, although they suffered over 50
per cent casualties. In the morning, the bodies of 950 Jap-
anese soldiers in front of the battalion's lines testified to
the fury of the enemy attack. Still continuing in the advance,
2/9 was to see much heavy fighting before it seized the Fonte
Plateau on 29 July.
Out of this furious battle for Fonte Plateau came the
9th 1 s first Medal of Honor winner, Captain Louis K. Wilson, Jr.
Although wounded three times while leading his rifle company
in the successful seizing of its objective on 25 July, he vol-
untarily rejoined his men that night during the fanatical
counterattacks and led them in repulsing the enemy in a fierce
10-hour hand-to-hand struggle. Early the next morning, he
organized a patrol from among his battered survivors and ad-
vanced upon a strategic slope essential to the security of his
company's position. Defying intensive mortar, machine-gun and
rifle fire, he drove relentlessly forward until the vital
ground was taken.
The 1st and 3d Battalions had also jumped off in the
attack of 25 July. During the first day, their advance units
made the first contact with Marines of the 1st Brigade, which
had landed on a separate beachhead to the south. On 28 July,
they stormed and captured Mount Chachao, a well-fortified
stronghold with a concrete emplacement on the summit.
On 31 July, an attack was ordered to secure the northern
portion of Guam with the 3d Marine Division and the Army's 77th
Infantry Division moving abreast across the island. The 9th,
on the right flank of the 3d Marine Division, had the task of
maintaining contact with the 77th Infantry Division. On 3
August, the last of the major Marine actions, the Battle of
Finegayen, was fought by the regiment.
The enemy had dug in astride the road to Finegayen village
where an open area gave excellent fields of fire to the de-
fenders. The Japanese surprised the Marines with heavy fire
from these well-camouflaged positions, but Private First Class
Francis P. Witek remained on his feet and emptied his gun at
the Japanese killing eight of them and enabling the Marines to
take cover. During the temporary withdrawal, he deliberately
exposed himself to safeguard a wounded comrade. With his
platoon still pinned down by a hostile machine gun, Witek
boldly rushed the position, personally accounting for it and
an additional eight Japanese before being struck down by an
enemy rifleman. For these heroic actions, Witek earned the
Medal of Honor.
Advancing against. the well-organized enemy positions, the
9th supported by two tanks managed to overrun the stronghold.
About 500 yards farther up the road, the Marines had to clear
another road block defended by Japanese machine guns and rifle-
men well concealed by the heavy brush and palm groves. The
drive north continued until the advance units of the 9th reached
the cliffs on the north coast of Guam on the afternoon of 9
With the end of organized enemy resistance, the regiment
went into camp south of Ylig Bay in a coconut grove and resumed
training after a short rest. This training was interrupted
when a general sweep of the island was ordered to seek out and
destroy or capture all Japanese stragglers. On 24 October,
the 3d Marine Division moved out with its three rifle regiments
abreast, the 9th in the center. (32) The sweep ended 30 October,
with 617 Japanese killed and 85 prisoners, and the 9th Marines
returned to its Ylig Bay camp. (33)
Life for the Marines of the 9th, like that of other
American fighting men in the Pacific, was a constant round of
training, combat, training, combat, and then more training for
the next combat. For the Iwo Jima campaign, the 9th was not
scheduled to land with the assault forces as it had done at
Bougainville and Guam; instead, V Amphibious Corps commander
had selected it to form part of the floating reserve. (34)
The training exercises, therefore, emphasized the various
phases a reserve unit passed through while landing and moving
up to the fighting. As part of the training, 1/9 staged an
amphibious landing exercise witnessed by Admiral Chester W.
Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, who had moved
his headquarters from Pearl Harbor to Guam. (35)
Embarking aboard ship 8 February 1945, the 9th Marines
sailed from Guam to Iwo Jima on the 17th, arriving in the
floating reserve area on D-Day, 19 February. Five days later,
the regiment landed and moved up to the front. The situation
ashore at this time found the Japanese controlling the rough
high ground to the north, east, and west, looking down the
throats of the Marines below. Before any general advance
could be made, a breakthrough in the Japanese center was
essential. To the 3d Marine Division was given this task of
clearing the critical central portion of the Motoyama Plateau
by means of a frontal assault.
This assault threw the Marines directly into the enemy's
strongest defenses, but the terrain precluded any other approach.
Once control of the relatively flat tableland along the back-
bone of the island was secured, the Marines would be able to
utilize interior lines to strike along the ridges to the coast,
at the same time denying the enemy the positions from which
he could place observed fire on the beaches. However, this
plateau could be considered flat only when compared to the
other mountainous parts of Iwo Jima. Actually, its volcanic
sandstone was broken everywhere by jagged outcroppings and
tumbled crevices. Superimposed on or embedded in this forbid-
ding terrain, the Japanese had designed the most elaborate
system of fortifications found in the Pacific. Every eleva-
tion assumed tactical importance and was bitterly defended.
On the morning of 25 February, the fresh 9th Marines
passed through the front lines on the southern edge of Motoyama
Airfield No. 2, and attacked with two battalions in assault
and one in reserve. For three days, the Marines fought on and
around the airfield, while a hail of fire from rifles, machine
guns, mortars, and artillery rained down on the slow-moving
Marines from the heights ahead.
During this savage fighting, another Marine of the 9th
won the Medal of Honor. Singlehandedly rushing a pillbox which
was holding up the advance, Private Wilson D. Watson hurled in
a grenade and then ran around to the rear of the emplacement
to destroy the retreating Japanese and enable his platoon to
take its objective. Later, when the Marines were again pinned
down, he dauntlessly scaled a jagged ridge under fierce mortar
and machine-gun fire to charge along the crest of the ridge,
firing from the hip at the enemy. Standing erect on top of
the ridge, Watson was able to keep up a sustained fire which
killed 60 of the Japanese and allowed his platoon to join him.
Enemy defenders on two key terrain features, Hills PETER
and 199 OBOE, continually hampered the advance. Finally, by
means of a coordinated attack between the 1st and 2d Battalions
on 27 February, the 9th overran Hill PETER and continued down
the reverse slope and up to the crest of 199 OBOE. The next
morning the 21st Marines relieved the depleted regiment to push
the attack and break the main line of resistance of the Japa-
nese that same day.
On 1 March, the 9th Marines again went into combat, this
time just east of the village of Motoyama. Its 3d Battalion,
attached to the 21st Marines, jumped off at 0800, and by late
afternoon the 9th (less its 3d Battalion) was attacking abreast
of the 21st Marines. The afternoon attack proved futile;
neither regiment advanced very far. In order to avoid a time
consuming shift of units already in the line, the 21st Marines
attached their 3d Battalion to the 9th Marines, retaining con-
trol of 3/9.
The next day the 9th ran into an enemy stronghold of
obvious strength. For the next three days, its Marines battled
against a maze of enemy-defended caves, pillboxes, dug-in tanks,
stone walls, and trenches that blocked their route of advance.
On 4 March, the 9th, with its 3d Battalion returned, made re-
peated frustrating attempts to advance, but failed to dent the
enemy positions in its front.
On 6 March, the regiment resumed the offensive in an all-
out effort to breach the Japanese final defense line. Again
no headway could be made against the well-entrenched enemy.
Finally, in a pre-dawn attack without the usual artillery
preparation, the Marines took the Japanese completely by sur-
prise and surged through positions which had been holding them
up for days.
At times during the day, however, whole battalions were
cut off from the rear as the Japanese came up from underground
positions to pour devastating fire on the Marines from all
directions. Second Lieutenant John H. Leims, commanding Com-
pany B of the 1st Battalion, earned a Medal of Honor when he
successfully extricated his men from their precarious positions
and returned twice through the withering fire to rescue wounded
Marines from the death trap. The men of 2/9 1 s Company F became
completely isolated and had to fight for their lives all that
day and night before their comrades could break through to re-
lieve the battered survivors.
During the day, 3/9 had succeeded in seizing Hill 262C,
long a stumbling block to the advance of the regiment. This
capture allowed the 9th to flank and isolate the pocket of
resistance that held up the advance for so many days. One of
the most perfectly devised fortifications on the island, it
came to be known as "Cushman's Pocket" after the commanding
officer of 2/9. Not until 16 March was 2/9 able to wipe out
the final remnants of the enemy bastion. With the elimination
of "Cushman's Pocket," the 3d Marine Division commander announced
the end of all enemy resistance in his zone of action.
Mopping-up operations were to occupy the Marines of the
9th until 4 April, at which time the Army's 145th Infantry
relieved them. On the morning of the 7th, the regiment, minus
the 3d Battalion, which was left behind for several additional
days to assist the Army in mopping up, boarded the USS Randall
and sailed for Guam.
During the Iwo Jima campaign, the 9th Marines had per-
formed valiantly in the most costly battle of the Marine Corps'
history. As the spearhead of the 3d Marine Division, its
Marines led the assault that captured Motoyama Airfield No. 2,
broke the Japanese main line of resistance in the central
Motoyama Plateau, and made the final breakthrough to Iwo's
northeastern shore, shattering the enemy's last line of defense.
The price had been heavy, and few of the veterans of Bougain-
ville and Guam remained unscathed at the end.
Worn and battered by the Iwo Jima Campaign, the regiment
arrived at Guam on 10 April to find themselves evicted from
their former camp on the beach and a new area in the jungle
assigned to them. (36) The 3d Battalion, returning to Guam on
17 April, joined in the construction of the new camp. Three
weeks were allocated for preparing the new camp before inten-
sive training started again in preparation for the final assault
on the Japanese homeland. The 9th had completed its training
and was preparing to engage in the final rehearsal, when the
atomic bomb and the unconditional surrender of the Japanese
made the last assault unnecessary.
The first Marine of the regiment to hear the news on the
radio jumped up from his bed, crashed through the tent's screen
door, and stood, barefooted and skivvy-clad, in the middle of
the street, to roar, "Wahooi Wahooi It's over — it's overi"(37)
An impromptu parade took place, and precious cans of beer were
broken out to toast the victory.
After the initial excitement subsided, the 9th continued
with its conditioning marches and training, for the 3d Marine
Division was destined to sweat out its remaining time on Guam,
a reserve force for use if the Japanese proved treacherous.
High point men, who were selected on the basis of time overseas,
combat operations participated in / personal citations, and
number of dependents, however, were rotated to the States.
Later, after the passivity of the Japanese in the Central
Pacific was assured, 3/9 was disbanded 31 October 1945. (38)
On 1 December, the 9th embarked aboard the USS Hampton and
sailed for San Diego, arriving and landing on the 15th. (39)
On the 31st, the 9th Marines was officially disbanded at Camp
In the autumn of 1947, the Marine Corps, faced with budg-
etary and personnel restrictions, undertook certain reorganiza-
tions in an attempt to retain on active status those units
whose past combat traditions and reputation would serve to
instill pride into the Marines serving in them. The rebirth
of the 9th Marines at battalion strength on Guam was one result
of this reorganization. On 1 October 1947, the 2d Battalion,
5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, was re-
designated the 9th Marines, Fleet Marine Force. (41)
For over a year, the newly activated 9th was destined to
remain on Guam, occupying its time with the usual activities
of peacetime Marines. While the Marines trained and prepared
themselves for any eventuality, the mainland of China was
seething with a gigantic battle for power between the Chinese
Communists and the Chinese Nationalists.
By November 1948, the civil war in China began seriously
to endanger the safety of many Americans in North China be-
cause of the advance of the Chinese Communists and the military
collapse of the Chinese Nationalists. (42) As a result, the
Secretary of Navy ordered the 9th Marines, still stationed at
Guam, to embark for China. (43) The battalion, with reinforcing
units, loaded aboard the USS Bayfield on 22 November and sailed
the next day for Tsingtao. Arriving on the 29th, the Marines
were to assist in the evacuation of American nationalists and
naval dependents from the North China area. (44)
Most of the Marines remained aboard ship ready for combat,
but one rifle company and some of the reinforcing units went
ashore to serve as a reserve force there. After evacuation
plans were coordinated with Fleet Marine Force, Western Pacific,
the battalion, minus its reserve units, proceeded on 15 December
to Shanghai, arriving there the next day. Again it remained
aboard ship, ready to land only in the event that American
lives and property were threatened.
For the next three months, the 9th was engaged in evacu-
ation operations in China, performing the Marines' traditional
role of protectors of American lives, interests, and property.
Late in December, a platoon of the 9th relieved a 3d Marines'
platoon on duty at the U. S. Embassy in Nanking. The reserve
units of the battalion were returned to Guam on 6 January 1949.
By mid-March, when it was evident that Tsingtao was a
doomed city, the 3d Marines was ordered south to relieve the
9th Marines. On 30 March, the 9th sailed from Shanghai for the
States. Before leaving, it had transferred its Company C,
which had elements ashore guarding American naval facilities
and on duty at the Nanking Embassy, to the 3d Marines, which
redesignated it Company B.
After touching at Guam, Pearl Harbor, and the Canal Zone,
the 9th Marines arrived 16 May at Moorehead City, North Carolina,
and went from there to Camp Lejeune. Three days later, it be-
came part of the 2d Provisional Marine Regiment.
On 5 October, the 9th, by now refreshed and retrained and
still part of the 2d Provisional Regiment, loaded on board the
USS Fremont at Little Creek, Virginia, participating the next
day in LEX-1, a landing exercise. Reembarking on the Fremont ,
it took part on the 8th in the rehearsal for NORAMEX, a north-
ern amphibious exercise designed to condition the Marines in
landing on an arctic shore and living in a tundra environment.
Then it sailed aboard the Fremont for Cape Porcupine, Labrador,
and NORAMEX. While en route, the 9th Marines was redesignated
the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, as a result of a further reor-
ganization of the Marine Corps. Thus, on 17 October 1949, the
name of the 9th Marines again was dropped from the muster rolls
of the Marine Corps.
The Later Years
During the Korean War, the 9th Marines was again reacti-
vated at Camp Pendleton as an integral part of the 3d Marine
Division, Fleet Marine Force, on 17 March 1952. (45) When all
of its component units were activated, the regiment consisted
of Headquarters and Service Company, three rifle battalions,
Anti-Tank Company, and 4.2 Mortar Company. For the first
several months of the unit's existence, training and drill
kept its Marines busy.
On 8 September, the 9th sailed from San Diego to partici-
pate in AIRLEX-1, the first operation of its kind ever attempted
by the Marine Corps * This unique maneuver demonstrated the use
of the "airhead," sequel to the beachhead of World War II. In
a massive air landing operation using several types of air-
craft, Marines established and held an airhead at Camp Haw-
thorne , Nevada .
During October the 3d Marine Division, after nine days
aboard ship off the coast of southern California, started its
amphibious landing maneuver, PHIBEX-1. This was a standard
amphibious training exercise using landing boats; however, an
entire battalion of the 9th was transported in a surprise
"airhead" assault landing. In December, the regiment went to
the other extreme in training exercises when it participated
in FEX-1, a desert training problem near Twenty-Nine Palms,
California, in the middle of 800 square miles of desert. In
April 1953, a return to their more natural habitat was made,
when the Marines participated in PHIBEX-II, another amphibious
In the summer of 1953, the 3d Marine Division was ordered
to Japan to strengthen the Far East Command by serving as a
mobile force in readiness. The 9th Marines left the States
in August and was established by October in Camp Gifu, Japan.
On 14 October, the regiment departed via railway for winter
maneuvers at Camp Fuji-McNair, Japan. A month later, it staged
a three-day helicopter exercise.
On 14 January 1954, the 9th embarked aboard ship at Nagoya
and sailed for Okinawa and a landing exercise. Shortly after
returning to Japan, it made a change in location from Camp Gifu
to the newly-renovated Camp Shinodayama, about 10 miles south-
west of Osaka, Japan. During March, the regiment participated
in LEX-1 at Iwo Jima. The next month it moved to Camp Fuji-
McNair for a 30-day training mission in the field. During
June, the 1st Battalion participated in an 18-hour air-ground
training maneuver, being transported from Itami to Atsugi,
while 2/9 acted as the aggressor in an amphibious exercise on
In July, the 9th Marines again changed its location, this
time to Camp Sakai, Japan. A week of intensive helicopter
training was conducted by 1/9 at the Aebano maneuver area near
Lake Biva. The regiment participated in Operation LOTUS in
August on Okinawa. With the coming of winter, another move
was made on 27 October to Camp Fuji-McNair and training maneu-
vers. On 5 December, the regiment returned to Camp Sakai.
During these rigorous training manuevers, the Marines of the
9th still found time to perform an act of kindness by turning
into lumberjacks and cutting up a winter's supply of 600 trees
for the Fuji Leper Colony.
During the remainder of its stay in Japan, the 9th with
other elements of the 3d Marine Division was constantly under-
going intensive training in amphibious and land warfare in ful-
fillment of its role as a ready force for the Far East Command.
In addition, the Marines created a feeling of goodwill among
the Japanese for the United States by their generous donations
to charities and the giving of Christmas parties for orphans.
Time was also found for sports, and the regiment won honors in
boxing, football, baseball, swimming, and other athletic
After participating in the NAVMARLEX maneuvers at Okinawa
in June, the 9th Marines relocated its base to Camp Napunja,
Okinawa, on 5 July 1955. During the same month, the 3d Marine
Division's headquarters was moved to Okinawa. This move was a
result of a recent agreement with Japan which called for the
removal of American ground forces.
A brief return to Japan was made in September, for TRAEX-8
manuevers at Camp Fuji-McNair. In December, the 9th Marines
played the role of aggressor as the 3d Marines stormed ashore
on the beaches of Okinawa in a mock attack. Another change of
location came in January 1956, when the regiment moved to Camp
Sukiran, Okinawa. During February, 1/9 participated in SEATO's
Operation FIRM LINK, gigantic maneuvers staged in Thailand.
During these maneuvers, the helicopter demonstration of the
Marines especially intrigued the allied observers. Afterwards,
the Marines paraded through the streets of Bangkok, the capital
On 15 April a firing squad from the 9th took part in a
ceremony commemorating Ernie Pyle, the famed World War II war
correspondent, beside his grave on Ie Shima. In May, the
regiment stormed ashore at Kin beach in a full-scale amphibious
exercise. During August, 1/9 staged a mock atomic attack at
Hansen Range, vividly displaying the mobility and effective-
ness of modern vertical envelopment by means of the helicopter.
In October, Marines of the 9th participated in Operation TEAM-
WORK in Thailand, demonstrating an amphibious assault on the
beach at Had Chao Samran. Over 25,000 spectators looked on as
the U. S. Marines cooperated with the Royal Thai Marines.
During 1957, the regiment changed its location several
times. On 5 April, it moved from Okinawa to Middle Camp, Fuji,
Japan. Returning to Okinawa, the 9th established itself at
Camp Hauge in October. Also during the year, the Marines par-
ticipated in two large-scale training exercises, NAVMARLEX-1
and RLTLEX 58 DELTA.
On 1 February 1958, the regiment moved to Camp Elbert L.
Kinser, Okinawa. Later in the month, it sailed for the Philip-
pine Islands and Operation STRONGBACK, the largest maneuver
staged in the Pacific by U. S. Armed Forces since World War II.
Returning to Okinawa in early March, the 9th made camp again
at Camp Sukiran.
During April, 1/9 took a 91.3 mile training hike around
Okinawa as part of its fitness program. Sailing from the
i sland in September, the Marines of the 9th participated in
Exercise LAND HO in the Taiwan Area. During December, 2/9
finished successfully a 19-day survival and guerrilla training
exercise some 26 miles north of Nago.
The first month of 1959 found the regiment experimenting
during field exercises with new training methods, such as the
use of realistic plastic reproductions of wounds to help train
Marines in the treatment of battle injuries. The next month,
Marines of 3/9 engaged in a tactical air-lift from Camp Sukiran
to Camp Bishigawa, where they destroyed a simulated enemy
objective before being heli-lifted again back to their camp.
In June the entire regiment sailed for North Borneo and
Operation SADDLE UP, the first amphibious operation involving
SEATO forces. Using helicopters, amphibian tractors and land-
ing craft to get ashore, the Marines conducted the training
exercise in some of the worst terrain and living conditions
that any Marine had faced since hitting the beaches at Guadal-
Besides constantly training ana experimenting with new
weapons and techniques of warfare in order to remain combat
ready, the Marines, as they had done in Japan, made friends
with the people of Okinawa through acts of kindness and con-
sideration. Nor did they neglect the field of sports, for
their athletic honors continued to multiply.
The next large-scale training exercise took place in May
1960. Designed to improve amphibious planning and promote a
closer working relationship between the forces of the United
States and those of the government of the Republic of China,
Operation BLUE STAR was a five-day amphibious exercise on the
southern part of Formosa. Under the protective cover of Marine
and Chinese aircraft, joint forces of combat-ready U. S. and
Chinese Nationalist Marines assaulted the beaches of Formosa
in one of the largest ship-to-shore war games in the Western
Pacific area since World War II.
During June, the Marines of the 9th participated in the
joint U. S. - Republic of Korea amphibious training exercise,
Operation SEA HAWK, held near Pohang, Korea. Marines of both
nations worked closely together, making good use of vertical
envelopment, and helped to increase the proficiency of opera-
tions between the U. S. and the Republic of Korea forces.
Towards the end of the year, 1/9 participated in Operation
PACKBOARD, a training maneuver emphasizing jungle warfare and
anti-guerrilla operations. This exercise in northern Okinawa
by elements of the 7th Fleet and the 3d Marine Division re-
vealed the helicopter to be a successful weapon against
guerrilla forces and a useful means of supplying troops in
On 1 January 1961, the infantry transplacement battalions
of the 1st and 3d Marine Divisions were redesignated to conform
with their present regiment. This change was made as a means
of eliminating the administrative difficulty which had resulted
from the units being allowed to maintain their original identi-
ties. Transplacement battalions had come into being a few
years back when the Marine Corps decided to relieve its Marines
stationed on Okinawa by relieving units rather than individual
Marines, thus retaining the unity and efficiency of the bat-
talion by keeping its men serving together. Under the old
transplacement plan, a battalion transplacing between the 1st
Marine Division in the States and the 3d Marine Division in
Okinawa would retain its original regiment's identity. From
now on, a transplacement battalion would exchange names with the
unit it relieved. As a result of this new transplacement plan,
the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, 7th Marines, were redesignated
the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, 9th Marines. This action
changed only the correct administrative title of the battalions
and did not involve the physical movement of Marines, although
some of the battalions were in the process of transplacement
at the time.
In May 1961, the 9th Marines participated in Operation
PONY EXPRESS, a combined SEATO amphibious exercise on the
northern shore of Borneo. When a Communist buildup in South-
east Asia threatened Thailand in the summer of 1962, the 9th
had a chance to prove its value as a force in readiness. The
3d Battalion landed at Bangkok and proceeded to the Udorn area,
some 40 miles from the Mekong River, where it remained as a
deterrent to any aggression until the danger had passed. In
addition, each battalion of the 9th took its turn as the
"floating battalion, " a Battalion Landing Team continuously
afloat in ships of the Seventh Fleet and serving as its mobile
striking arm. The regiment remained permanently stationed on
Okinawa until it was committed to Vietnam in 1965.
The Ninth Marines in Vietnam (46)
A battalion of the 9th Marines was one of the first units
to land in Vietnam following the decision to commit Marine
forces against the Viet Cong. On 8 March 1965, BLT (Battalion
Landing Team) 3/9, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles E.
McPartlin, Jr., landed in Da Nang in central Vietnam as part of
the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The brigade's mission
was to defend the Da Nang Air Base, which at that time was
under constant threat of attack by the Viet Cong. Marines of
3/9 quickly and effectively secured the airbase and its immedi-
ate vicinity and remained at that location until they were
relieved by BLT 1/9 under Lieutenant Colonel Verle E. Ludwig
on 16 June 1965. BLT 3/9 returned to Okinawa, where on 18
July another battalion, fresh from the United States, was
designated 3d Battalion, 9th Marines.
On 4 July 1965, the regimental commander, Colonel Frank E.
Garret son, brought his headquarters to Da Nang from Okinawa
and the regiment became part of the III Marine Amphibious
Force in South Vietnam. On the same date, the 2d Battalion,
under Lieutenant Colonel George R. Scharnberg, also arrived.
On 15 August, when the 3d Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel
Robert J. Tunnell, Jr., reached Da Nang the regiment had all
three of its organic battalions committed against the Viet Cong.
In its first year in Vietnam, the 9th Marines, located
on the east coast of South Vietnam in the Da Nang tactical
area of responsibility, occupied an area of approximately one
hundred and fifty square miles. Bounded by three major rivers,
the Song Cau Do to the north, Song Yen-Song Vu Gia to the west,
and the Song Thu Bon- Song Ky Lam to the south, the zone of
action contained numerous small riverways, heavy vegetation,
and a relatively high population density. On 15 June 1966, the
responsibility for the eastern sector, a sandy, lightly popu-
lated area, and the area south of Song Cau Do, running parallel
to the river, was assigned to another regiment of the III MAF.
Contiguous to the zone of action of the 9th Marines was
the An Hoa light industrial complex, an area of considerable
economic potential to the people of Da Nang and surrounding
Quang Nam Province. During late April and early May 1966, the
3d Battalion conducted an extensive search and destroy opera-
tion in the vicinity of the industrial complex and paved the
way for the reestablishment of Government of Vietnam influence
in the area.
During 1965 and 1966, the regiment developed several
tactics and techniques particularly suited for its zone of actic
Beginning in September 1965, at the height of the rice harvest
season, the 9th Marines inaugurated Operation GOLDEN FLEECE,
so named because of the nature of the mission. Working in con-
junction with local Vietnamese units and district officials,
9th Marines units conducted search and destroy operations in
the vicinity of areas where rice was to be harvested and also
provided security for the villagers. This type of operation
was successful both militarily and politically and was in-
strumental in establishing Marine-Vietnamese rapport throughout
the regimental zone of action.
As the regiment advanced south of the Song Cau Do, contacts
with the Viet Cong rose sharply. The zone of action was in-
creasingly characterized by intense short-lived encounters on
the small unit level. This indicated the need for a quick
response by a highly maneuverable small force with adequate fire
power, which the 9th Marines met with the development of the
SPARROW HAWK concept in January 1966. Each forward battalion
maintained a reinforced rifle squad on daylight alert for immedi-
ate deployment by helicopter to any destination in its zone of
action to exploit contact with hostile forces. Transport and
armed helicopters were on strip alert at the Marble Mountain
Air Facility at Da Nang and upon request from the battalion,
were immediately deployed to a designated landing zone to pick
up the "SPARROW HAWK" squad. These Marines were then landed
in the enemy's rear or flank. This Marine tactical unit was
utilized as a separate maneuver element on the ground either
in a mobile role or as a separate blocking force, but not as
a reinforcing element. By 30 June 1966, the 9th Marines had
successfully employed SPARROW HAWK 45 times and had achieved
In October 1965, the area to the rear of the 2d Battalion 1
zone of action was chosen by the Government of Vietnam as the
location for a priority pacification program known as the Five
Mountains Pacification Campaign. Civic action as a "new
weapons system" gained increasing importance as the program,
supported by the 9th Marines, picked up momentum. In an effort
to provide maximum assistance to the pacification program and,
at the same time, to accomplish one of its priority missions,
the destruction of the Viet Cong — the 9th Marines developed
Operation COUNTY FAIR in February 1966.
COUNTY FAIR was a combination of military, civic, and
physchological-warf are actions to reestablish Vietnamese con-
trol over the populace of a given area. It was designed to
flush the Viet Cong from the community in which they were a
parasite, while at the same time insuring that the populace
was not alienated towards the government. Military actions
were accompanied by a vigorous civic action program which
attempted to convince the population that the Government of
Vietnam was interested in the welfare of the people and that a
government victory against the Viet Cong was inevitable.
The 9th Marines 1 participation in COUNTY FAIR operations
consisted of cordoning a target area (village or hamlet) in
order to isolate it for the duration of the operation (normally
two days) and providing limited medical and logistical assist-
ance. To the largest extent possible, Vietnamese military,
police, and civil authorities performed the task of searching
the target areas and handling the populace. This was con-
sidered an essential element of COUNTY FAIR operations, since
one of its primary purposes was to restore the populace 1 s con-
fidence in the Vietnamese governmental structure and to instill
a sense of trust and loyalty towards duly appointed officials.
During its first year of deployment in Vietnam, the 9th
Marines took part in approximately 45 battalion and several
hundred company-size operations within the Da Nang tactical
area of responsbility as well as in several III Marine Amphibiou
Force operations outside the Da Nang area.
After almost a half-century of existence, the 9th Marines
can look back upon its past history with pride. The regiment
performed valiantly on the beaches and in the jungles of
Bougainville and Guam, as well as on the volcanic ash of Iwo
Jima in the most costly battle of the Corps' history, and now
has fought with distinction in Vietnam. First created in time
of war, each new national crisis has brought it back into being,
and each time it has carried out its mission successfully.
Present-day Marines serving under the battle streamers of the
9th 's regimental standard can share equally in the pride of
combat-earned honors and the confident belief that the "Striking
Ninth" will continue to perform courageously in any future
(1) Clyde H. Metcalf , A History of the United States Marine
Corps . (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1939). p. 456,
hereafter Metcalf, USMC History .
(2) CMC ltr to CO, MB, Quantico, Va., dtd 10Novl7 (HistBr
Archives, G-3 Division, HQMC) .
(3) Ibid . ; Muster Rolls, 9th Regiment, Novl7 (Unit Diary-
Section, Personnel Department, HQMC) , hereafter Muster
Rolls with unit, month, and year.
(4) Ibid.; CMC ltr to CO, MB, Quantico, Va., dtd 10Novl7
(HistBr Archives, G-3 Division, HQMC) .
(5) Metcalf, USMC History , p. 336.
(6) Ibid . , p. 337.
(7) Muster Rolls , 9th Regiment, Decl7, and, unless otherwise
cited, the Muster Rolls are the source of the following
account of the 9th Regiment during World War I.
(8) Metcalf, USMC History , p. 337; Muster Rolls , 3d Provisional
Marine Brigade, Decl7; Muster Rolls , 7th Regiment, Decl7.
(9) IstLt L. D. Burrus, USMCR, (ed.), The Ninth Marines ; A
Brief History of the Ninth Marine Regiment with Lists of
the Officers and Men Who Served From Organization to Dis -
bandment 1942 - 45 (Washington: Infantry Journal Press,
1946) , p. 30, hereafter Burrus, Ninth ; Metcalf, USMC
History , p. 460.
(10) Burrus, Ninth , p. 30.
(11) "Report of the Commandant of the Marine Corps" in Report
of the Secretary of the Navy 1918 , p. 1608.
(12) Muster Rolls , 9th Regiment, Dec25-Sep37; Burrus, Ninth ,
(13) Richard W. Johnston, Follow Me l The Story of the Second
Marine Division in World War II (New York: Random House,
1948), p. 16; Muster Rolls , 9th Marines, Feb42. Unless
otherwise cited, the Muster Rolls are the source of the
9th Marines' history until the Bougainville campaign.
(14) IstLt Robert A. Aurthur, USMCR, and IstLt Kenneth Cohlmia,
USMCR, The Third Marine Division (Washington: Infantry
Journal Press, 1948) , p. 11, hereafter Aurthur and Cohlmia,
Third Marine Division.
Ibid., p. 12
Burrus , Ninth, p. 33
Ibid . , pp. 34-35.
Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 14.
Burrus, Ninth , p. 36.
Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 14.
Burrus, Ninth , pp. 37-38
Ibid . , pp. 38-39.
Maj John N. Rentz, USMCR, Bougainville and the Northern
Solomons (Washington: Historical Section, Division of
Public Information, HQMC, 1948) , p. 24, and, unless
otherwise cited, the source of the following account of
the 9th Marines on Bougainville.
Maj Frank 0. Hough, USMCR, The Island War (Philadelphia:
J. B. Lippincott, 1947) , p. 113, hereafter Hough, Island
Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 73.
Burrus, Ninth , p. 52.
Maj 0. R. Lodge, The Recapture of Guam (Washington:
Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1954) pp. 27-28,
and, unless otherwise cited, the source of the following
account of the 9th Marines on Guam.
Hough, Island War , p. 269.
Jeter A. Islely and Philip A. Crowl, The U. S. Marines
and Amphibious War : Its Theory , and Its Practice in the
Pacific (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951)
Burrus, Ninth , p. 72.
Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division, p. 167.
LtCol Whitman S. Bartley, USMC, Iwo Jima: Amphibious
Epic (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC,
1954) , p. 26, and, unless otherwise cited, the source of
the following account of the 9th Marines during the Iwo
J ima c ampa ig n .
(35) Burrus, Ninth , p. 76.
(36) Aurthur and Cohlmia, Third Marine Division , p. 323.
(37) Ibid . , p. 330.
(38) Muster Rolls , 9th Marines, Oct45.
(39) Ibid ., Dec45.
(40) Ibid .
(41) Unless otherwise cited, the source of the following
account of the 9th Marines in China has been obtained
from the Muster Rolls of the 9th Marines for this period
and Henry I. Shaw, Jr., "North China Marines" (MS, HistBr,
G-3, HQMC) .
(42) Henry I. Shaw, Jr., The United States Marines in North
China , 1945 - 1949 (Marine Corps Historical Reference
Series No. 23, HistBr, G-3, HQMC, 1960), p. 22.
(43) Ibid . , pp. 22-23.
(44) North China Marine . (Tsingtao, China), 4Dec48, p. 1.
(45) 9th Marines Unit Diary, Mar52 (Unit Diary Section,
Personnel Department, HQMC) . The Unit Diaries of the
9th Marines from March 1952 to January 1963 provided
the source for the remainder of this section. Certain
information, not obtainable from the unit diaries has
been taken from the following newspapers of the period:
The Pendleton Scout (Camp Pendleton, California) and The
Triad (3d Marine Division) .
(46) CO, 9th Marines Itr to CMC, dtd 4Jul66 (HistBr, G-3
Division, HQMC) provided the basis for the narrative
concerning the 9th Marines in Vietnam.
COMMANDING OFFICERS, 9TH MARINES, 1917-1961
Since the beginning of the Marine Corps, there has only been
one regimental organization bearing the designation "Ninth" at
any given time. The following list enumerates the Commanding
Officers of this regiment. A series of asterisks have been
used at the end of particular rosters to indicate total dis-
bandment of a regiment. Absence of asterisks between regi-
mental headings indicates a redesignation. A single asterisk
indicates that the Commanding Officer later became a Commandant
of the Marine Corps.
9th Regiment , Advanced Base Force
Note: Organized at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, on
20 November 1917 as one of the two infantry regiments
of the Advanced Base Force during World War I.
Robert W. Williams
Rush R. Wallace
Frederic L. Bradman
9th Reqiment, 3d
Frederic L. Bradman
Thomas C. Treadwell
Thomas C. Treadwell
George C. Reid
George C. Reid
George C. Reid
On 25 April 1919, the
barking at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia.
9th Marines , 2d Marine Division
Note: Reactivated at Camp Elliott, San Diego, as an integral
part of the 2d Marine Division.
LtCol William B. Onley 12 Feb 1942 - 15 Mar 1942
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 16 Mar 1942 - 31 Jul 1942
9th Marines , Reinforced , 2d Marine Division
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 1 Aug 1942 - 2 Aug 1942
9th Marines , Reinforced , Amphibious Corps , Pacific Fleet
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 3 Aug 1942 - 7 Sep 1942
9th Marines , Reinforced , 3d Marine Division
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 8 Sep 1942 - 21 Nov 1942
9th Marines , 3d Marine Division
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 22 Nov 1942 - 31 Dec 1942
9th Marines , Reinforced , 3d Marine Division
*Col Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. 1 Jan 1943 - 19 Jun 1943
9th Marines , 3d Marine Division
Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.
Edward A. Craig
James A. Stuart (Acting)
Edward A. Craig
Howard N. Kenyon
William R. Williams (Act
Howard N. Kenyon
William R. Williams
James H. Tinsley
James H. Tinsley
On 31 December 1945, the 9th Marines were disbanded at
Camp Pendleton, California.
The 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet
Marine Force (FMF) , was redesignated 9th Marines, FMF,
on 1 October 1947.
Ralph A. Collins, Jr.
Charles J. Bailey, Jr.
Ralph A. Collins, Jr.
Thomas B. Hughes
Ralph A. Collins, Jr.
1 Oct 1947 - 23 Nov 1947
24 Nov 1947 - 28 Nov 1947
29 Nov 1947 - 29 Feb 1948
1 Mar 1948 - 9 May 1948
10 May 1948 - 19 May 1948
Thomas B. Hughes
Ralph A. Collins, Jr.
Thomas B. Hughes
Ralph A. Collins, Jr.
j-iiciucio d « nu.y i it; o
Thomas B. Hughes
Walter W. Stegemerten
Thomas B. Hughes
Walter W. Stegemerten
V— (J J.
J- iicjitido jd • nuij iicd
9th Marines, 2d Provisional Marine
William J. Piper, Jr.
Lucien W. Carmichael
T,fP n l
Frederick R. Dowsett
9th Marines, Reinforced, 2d
Provisional Marine Regiment
Frederick R. Dowsett
Note: On 17 October 1949, en route aboard ship to Cape
Porcupine, Labrador, the designation of the regiment
was changed to 3d Battalion (Reinforced) , 6th Marines,
2d Marine Division, FMF.
Reactivated at Camp Pendleton, California, as an
integral part of the 3d Marine Division, FMF, on
17 March 1952.
John J. Gormley
William W. Buchanan
George A. Roll
John A. Copeland
Cliff Atkinson, Jr.
Henry J. Revane
Howard B. Benge
18 Mar 1952
16 Nov 1952
3 Apr 1954
8 Sep 1954
25 Oct 1954
12 Jul 1955
17 Aug 1955
15 Nov 1952
2 Apr 1954
7 Sep 1954
24 Oct 1954
11 Jul 1955
16 Aug 1955
30 Sep 1955
9th Marines , Reinforced
Howard B. Benge 1 Oct 1955 - 1 Mar 1956
Peter J. Speckman
Carl A. Laster
James A. Donovan, Jr.
James C. Murray, Jr.
Clvrlp R NpI «?nn
JL J7 /
JL ^ *J \D
Clyde R. Nelson
Francis W. Benson
Leonard M. Mason
Roy J. Batterton, Jr.
Randall L. Stallings
Wilbur R. Holmer
William A. Stiles
Samuel D. Mandeville,
John H. McMillan
Gordon D. Gayle
George R. Stallings
Cleland E. Early
Frank E. Garretson
John E. Gormon
Edwin H. Simmons
Drew J. Barrett
Robert M. Richards
Robert M. Jenkins
9TH MARINES MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS
Capt Louis H. Wilson, Jr. - 25-26 Jul 1944 - Fonte Hill,
Pfc Frank P. Witek - 3 Aug 1944 - Battle of
Pvt Wilson D. Watson - 26-27 Feb 1945 - Iwo Jima, Volcano
2dLt John H. Leims - 7 Mar 1945 - Iwo Jima, Volcano
CAMPAIGN STREAMERS OF 9TH MARINES
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
Guam Campaign (earned by 2/9) 24 Jul 1944 - 1 Aug 1944
Iwo Jima Campaign 19 Feb 1945 - 28 Feb 1945
WORLD WAR I VICTORY STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
Cuba Nov 1917 - 11 Nov 1918
ASIATIC-PACIFIC STREAMER WITH THREE BRONZE STARS
Treasury-Bougainville Campaign 1 Nov 1943 - 15 Dec 1943
Northern Solomons Campaign 15 Dec 1943 - 28 Dec 1943
Guam Campaign 21 Jul 1944 - 15 Aug 1944
Iwo Jima Campaign 19 Feb 1945 - 16 Mar 1945
WORLD WAR II VICTORY STREAMER
12 Feb 1942 - 28 Dec 1945
CHINA SERVICE STREAMER
29 Nov 1948 - 29 Mar 1949
NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
17 Mar 1952 - 27 Jul 1954
1 Jan 1961 -
MARINE CORPS EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
Thailand (earned by 3/9) 17 May 1962 - 29 Jul 1962
ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
Vietnam 9 Mar 1965 - 3 Jul 1965
VIETNAM SERVICE STREAMER
4 Jul 1965 -
rt f the Marine Corps
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